Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School Days!


We are now in late October, and Paprika has been in school for almost two months (and while I realize that is almost no time, it seems like so long!)

It has been quite a big adjustment for all of us. I am so used to having her with me every moment, and it's just not that way anymore. In the past two months, she has encountered bullying at school, sensory overload, and has been exposed more to the real world than she encountered in her first five years of life.

She is in Developmental Kindergarten this year, which is for kids who are not yet ready for Kindergarten...kids who need an extra year. It's tricky with Paprika because while in many ways academically she is way ahead of her peers, socially she is just not.

Paprika really struggles with anxiety, and so in some ways school is great for her. She loves the structure. The rules. The predictability. On the other hand, she is exposed to many simple things she just cannot handle, and I see her struggling with that on a daily basis (translastion: mental breakdowns over very small things).

Ahhh, being a mom is hard.


So, for now we have decided to keep her at school. She loves it. Why, I do not really understand. Every day I give her the option of whether or not she wants to go (I know people are going to think that is crazy, but at this point I have decided to leave it up to her for now). I want her to love school and love learning, and she does!

Of course, because her school issues aren't academic...the instruction she gets in school is not pushing her. School is 3.5 hours/day and includes playground time...in the big scheme of things, it's kind of a blip in the day. I mean, there are 24 hours in a day, so we have 20.5 hours/day when she is not in school...and if you know how little my kids sleep, we have to got fill that extra time somehow!

So, I've been doing basically a full homeschool curriculum with Paprika at home. In the past few weeks since we've started, she has learned to read. Yes, read. Not memorize words from a book and parrot them back (which we know she has been doing since age 1)...but really read them.

We started out with the program Reading Eggs (love it) and she is whizzing through it. I also bought a ton of books on Ebay for us to read together. Even though we have a pretty hefty library at home, I wanted her to have some new (to us) books. We got a bunch of Arnold Lobel books (we had been using Mr. M's from childhood but they were ahem, getting destroyed quickly...so I put those away). I got a huge lot of Dr. Seuss books on Ebay for a fraction of the retail price. These new books really round out our already sizeable Seuss collection:


Some Amelia Bedelia books on Ebay (which in hindsight Paprika is not ready for because she doesn't quite "get" the humor yet...a few years from now maybe):

amelia bedelia

And some other Early Reader books (also Ebay)...these are the Noodle series, which Paprika loves.


I also picked up a bunch of used books on Amazon that she is loving. Just books about things she's having anxiety about...like losing a tooth, for example. Not that she has a loose tooth- but she might...one day... ;-) The best one so far has been a book called Dear Tooth Fairy. It is adorable!

In addition to reading (and writing), we have been doing Science through Discovery Education, and Math through IXL and Math Whizz. We do lots of hands-on stuff at home, and reinforce with the computer programs. For the IXL and Math Whizz, I have to sit there with Paprika the whole time and guide her through the problems...and let's face it, she is just so much more interested in reading and art at this point than any other subjects. Math is like pulling teeth with her!

So, I have decided to just focus most of our time on the reading at home for now and everything else will fall into place later.

Of course, Paprika is now on the verge of reading chapter books (a year before she is set to enter kindergarten). In school last week they learned the letters P, M, and H. Which is great. Great that Paprika is not struggling academically.

Except now I worried that she is going to be bored at school. But...socially, she is just not ready (in so many ways) to go up a grade at school. I know that the Developmental Kindergarten is a great fit for her at this point. It's just hard. Hard for me to feel like she is struggling to find her place and fit in amongst her peers. Hard for me to see her having a hard time, when here at home everything is comfortable and safe for her. Just hard!

So, we take it day by day. So far, she is loving school and that is what matters, right? I just think this first year is going to be a big adjustment for all of us...maybe the biggest adjustment for me! ;-)



Anonymous said...

Does your DK school have a K class? If so, is it a possibility for her to move to K now? I know you say that she is not socially ready but if you move her to a K class this year then she won't be bored academically in K next year. That is sure to happen unless you have a full day K program at your school. I'm not sure what is harder - a socially shy child or one that is super bored in class because he/she has already learned the K curriculum! :(

Sorry to read that she has already experienced bullying. :(

Cristy said...

What a predicament ... I can sense the struggle in your post. Just know that no child is perfect. Some parents that I work with (i work with struggling students) have the opposite issue! "they're so social but just can't do well in school!" this isn't AT ALL to undermine your dilemma. I'm just saying, it will all be ok. Every child will struggle and is amazing. And with a mom that is as supportive as you are, even better!! :)

Tracy said...

Sam has a severe expressive speech delay but his receptive is fine. He's hard to test b/c he understands but can't say it. It's so frustrating to see your child struggle, but it makes it even more special when they soar. :)

Silke Hamilton, OTR/L said...

Remember that there are quite a few kids that go from DK to grade 1.....the level of structure there will probably be great for Paprika there, too! Try not to let math slide too much so that she gets the concepts from kindergarten curriculum, too. Love and Prayers for you, silke

Devon MIKELS said...

this post left me in tears... you are a wonderful mom and paprika is AMAZING! day by day, ya know...she's a treasure.

and she can READ?! i need to send riley to you :)

ferfischer said...

Day by day is right. This parenting thing IS hard. Amen to that, sister. You're doing great - and it's clear all of your kids are thriving.